Written by Joel Basa
e-Marketing Manager, Xerox Corporation
Impressions per hour. Pages per minute. Sheets per hour. The industry has various ways of describing printing speed. However, let me ask you, “How productive is your press (digital or non-digital)?” If you’ve responded with a phrase similar to “120 Pages Per Minute” or “7000 Impressions Per Hour” then I’ll repeat my question, “How productive is your press?” Is the concept of “productivity” equivalent to “print speed?” I would argue not.
Step back and think about the printing process. Simply put, the objective of anyone operating a press is to produce output that will meet your customers need…something you would sell to them, a sellable print. It’s a manufacturing process. However, as we all know, the process of producing prints rarely goes without challenges. A press may produce inconsistent color, streaking, skewing and many more challenges that would result in disruption to the print process.
If a machine is capable of “X impressions per hour” the more important question to ask is, “how many sellable prints are produced per hour?” Some may call this “Operational Prints Per Hour.”
What are the things that negatively affect Operational Prints Per Hour? Just like in traditional manufacturing: defects and downtime. Let’s take a look at a couple challenges you may be facing as you produce work for your customers.
Color: Customers demand accurate color and consistent color. Have you had to interrupt jobs in order to make adjustments to color? These adjustments affect the true productivity of your shop. Does your press provide color management automation to some of these adjustments?
Streaking: Non-sellable prints are often produced when a press starts producing output that contains streaks? With a break-fix mode of many presses, the operator would have to make adjustments in order to bring the machine back to sellable print quality. Ideally, automation would be in place to detect and eliminate this problem.
I strongly feel its important for the industry to start thinking about productivity, moving away from speeds and feeds and more to what truly helps you produce more jobs and grow your business. Think about the productivity of your press. How are you measuring this?
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